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Red Eye Tetra

Moenkhausia sanctaefilomenae


Red Eye Tetra
  • Scientific Name: Moenkhausia sanctaefilomenae
  • Other Names: Yellow Banded Moenkhausia, Yellow back Moenkhausia, Yellowhead Tetra
  • Family: Characidae
  • Origin: Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, Peru
  • Adult Size: 2.75 inches (7 cm)
  • Social: Peaceful - suitable for community tanks
  • Lifespan: 5 years
  • Tank Level: Mid dweller
  • Minimum Tank Size: 10 gallons
  • Diet: Omnivore, eats most foods
  • Breeding: Egglayer
  • Care: Easy
  • pH: 5.5 - 8.5
  • Hardness: to 25 dGH
  • Temperature: 73-82 F (23-28 C)



If you've ever seen a school of these tetras with their bright silver body accented by a black tail and red eyes, it's easy to see how they got their name. Readily available, this peaceful medium-sized tetra is suitable for most community aquariums. Their hardiness and ease of care also make them an excellent beginner fish.

Best kept in schools, then will claim the mid portion of the aquarium. Although they are very peaceful some owners report that they occasionally nip at the fins of slow moving long finned fish. Because they are very active in the middle section of the tank, they may disturb less active top-dwelling fish.


Red Eyes tolerate a range of water conditions, from hard alkaline to soft acidic water. They prefer a dark substrate and plant cover along the sides and back of the aquarium. It is advisable to keep them in schools of six or more.


Like most tetras, Red Eyes will accept virtually any foods. A varied diet of flake foods coupled with occasional feedings of live or frozen foods, will keep them in top condition.


Females are larger and have a more rounded abdomen than the males. When attempting to breed them, a separate breeding tank should be set up with slightly acidic, very soft water (4 dGH or below). If floating plants are provided, as the breeding pair will often lay eggs among the plants.

Once spawning has occurred, the mating pair should be removed, as they will consume the eggs and hatching fry. One to two days after they are laid, the eggs will hatch. The fry can initially be fed commercially prepared fry foods, then freshly hatched brine shrimp, and eventually finely crushed flake foods.

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